'Religious, foreign groups can't do source code review'

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 05 2013 04:41 PM | Updated as of Mar 06 2013 01:06 AM

MANILA - The Commission on Election is barring religious groups, foreign parties and foreign funded groups from the source code review of the automated election system.

Resolution 9651 of the Comelec states: “For this purpose, the following shall not be allowed to conduct a review of the source code:

a. Any religious sect or denomination, organization or association, organized for religious purposes;

b. Any foreign party or organization;

c. Any group or organization which is receiving monetary or any form of financial support from any foreign government, or foreign political party, foundation, or organization, whether directly or through any of its officers or members or indirectly through third parties."

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes earlier accused watchdog AESWatch of receiving foreign funding. The poll chief had rebutted criticisms of AESWatch on the poll body's preparations for the automated elections as well as the failure of the Comelec to make the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) source code available for review.

AESWatch has been advocating an open election system as an alternative to the Smartmatic PCOS machines.

The Comelec resolution said only the following may be accredited for source code review:

1. Interested political party which means a political party, sectoral party or coalition of parties duly registered and/or accredited by the Comelec

2. Independent candidates who are running for a nationwide national position

3. Interested group which means any legitimate organization or group duly accredited by the Comelec, including its duly accredited citizens' arms, which possesses the technical capability and expertise in conducting the source code review

Interested entities must signify their interest and submit the credentials of their source code reviewers who shall meet the following qualifications among others:

1. Must have at least a 4 year bachelors degree in any IT related field, preferably with specialization in computer systems security or cryptography;

2. Must have at least 2 related publications or 5 years computer systems development experience

Entities allowed to do the source code review will be compelled to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Comelec shall provide a secure and enclosed location for the source code review, which shall then have video and audio recording capability.

The source code may also not be taken out of the Comelec facility.

Under the Automated Elections Law, the source codes must be opened up to review by the political parties and interest groups.

This is even if the PCOS source code remains in the hands of 3rd party certifier SLI Global Solutions because of the collection claims of Source code owner Dominion Voting Systems and its estranged licensee, Smartmatic.

Brillantes previously pointed out that the source code of the CCS, the system which consolidates and canvasses the PCOS generated precinct election returns in the municipal, city, provincial and national levels, is already available for review.

The poll chief said that by Thursday or Friday, he will make an announcement on the fate of the PCOS source code review pending further negotiations with the warring suppliers.

Brillantes said that should SLI still not bring the source code, they will instead use Smartmatic's source code.